Tuesday Tease: Portland’s All That Glitters Burlesque Academy

DSC_3544-e1384568325700Exciting news! Portland, Oregon’s getting a brand new burlesque school!

I recently got an e-mail from Holly Dai, who used to be with the Frim Fram Foxies, (who we did a feature on back in July of 2012) among other troupes, and she told me about her exciting new venture: the All That Glitters Burlesque Academy. Her partner in this new venture is Tana the Tattooed Lady, who is a veteran of the Seattle burlesque scene and a former member of one of the pioneering Northwest burlesque troupes, the Atomic Bombshells.

It’s always an exciting time when you see burlesque schools start to pop up in towns like Portland because it’s a sign that the scene is growing and certainly, will continue to grow as students leave to produce their own shows and form their own troupes. I’ve certainly seen the Portland burlesque community grow significantly over the last three years. While the scene still remains relatively small, I think in a couple years, Portland’s burlesque scene will rival that of Seattle or San Francisco. I also have a feeling that All That Glitters will be, in no small part, responsible for that growth.

Holly also teased (how appropriate!) some exciting news. Oregon may be getting its very first burlesque festival! They aren’t saying much at this point but we’ll be waiting with bated breath to hear more news on this exciting development.

We sure appreciate Holly and Tana taking time out of their busy lives to chat with us about All That Glitters, their influences, their history, the Portland scene and more. They even offer a little advice to those of you out there that’d like to start your own burlesque academy.

So, without further ado, I give you Holly Dai and Tana the Tatooed Lady!
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Tuesday Tease: Russell Bruner, The King of Burlesque

5388867_origWith so many people walking around with handlebar moustaches and tweed vests, one can easily get annoyed with the current wave of retro-enthusiasm. Bars calling themselves “speakeasies” are popping up everywhere and every 20-something seems to be learning to play the banjo, riding a penny-farthing or waxing poetic about rye whiskey. Surely, this trend will pass and the hipsters will find another by-gone era to emulate, but for hardcore retro-enthusiasts like Russell Bruner, this is more than a trend, it’s a lifestyle!

I first met Russell on a trip to Portland back in October, where I checked out one of his swing dance nights at Kelly’s Olympian. I’d been meeting with burlesque performers that whole weekend and all of them had nothing but great things to say about Russell. When I saw him in action that night at Kelly’s, I could see why. I was blown away by his pleasant demeanour, his style and, most of all, his dance moves.

Russell is the founder of the Portland, Oregon-based production company Swing Time PDX. He started Swing Time “as a project to provide and create more opportunities for swing bands and swing musicians to encourage and help them to provide dance events to the public.” Over the better part of the last decade, he has incorporated more than just swing bands and dancers into the mix. He now hosts circus events, vaudeville shows and, of course, burlesque. All with his decided old-time flair.


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